British Airways announces permanent Boeing 747 fleet retirement

British Airways had a fleet of 31 Boeing 747-400s in service at the start of the COVID-19 crisis. (BA)

The UK’s flag carrier, British Airways, has said it is unlikely that any of its Boeing 747 fleet will fly commercial services again. The airline, and its BOAC predecessor, had operated the type from its very earliest versions back in 1971.

British Airways had planned to withdraw the last of its ‘jumbo jets’ in 2024 and still had 31 of the -400 series in service when the COVID-19 crisis temporarily shut down the world’s airlines.

With the dramatic fall in global passenger numbers and a slow recovery expected by the industry, the type’s retirement was brought forward and. The airline confirmed its previously temporary grounding is now thought to be permanent on July 16.

BA is already in the process of replacing them with the more fuel-efficient Airbus A350s and Boeing 787s.